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Old 06-11-2010, 05:18 PM   #4   [permalink]
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Join Date: 3 Jul 2009
Location: The Id
Posts: 46
The room filled with steam and soon everyone had droplets of moisture clinging to their bare flesh. Lying around nude in the heat and steam, the girls chatted lazily about a variety of topics that tended to mesh nerdy scientific topics with ordinary girl talk; like weather or not their boobs would sag in long duration space flight.

The conversation took the turn it so often did at Madame Petri’s, and they began discussing future projects. Topics ranged from invisibility to home made space craft, and it had long been suggested that the entire guild cooperated on some kind of massive project. Figuring out just what was, however, was a problem as usual. As the gaggle of naked geniuses continued debating potential ventures, Krystal too a deep breath and seized the opportunity.

“I think we should develop a cure for cancer.” She declared quickly.

Everyone stopped talking and turned to look at her. The twins both yipped in surprise at the suggestion. Zippy narrowed her eyes at her, staring at her intently.

Katjia said, “That’s . . . ambitious, Krystal.”

Madoka chimed, “Yeah, Krystal, I applaud your boldness, but a cure for cancer has stumped the most brilliant teachers at this school. What makes you think we can do any better?”

Krystal gestured at Stitchy, “We’ve already have done better. The holy grail of mad science is taking a steam bath with us. Between the minds in this room, and rest of the Guild, I think we can do this: giants standing on the shoulders of giants so to speak.”

The others looked somewhat less then convinced and cast uneasy glances at each other.

Lizzy spoke up, “I don’t know, Krystal, what you are proposing is an incredibly difficult task. It could take a very long time before we find what we need, and we’d need to finish before the end of the year.”

Much quicker then that, from the sound of it, Krystal thought.

And then said, “Yes, but I really think we should work on a cure for cancer.”

Zippy leaned forward, concern on her face, “Krystal . . . do you have cancer?”

All eyes turned to her in shock. She couldn’t help but feel a little swell of pride that they all seemed genuinely distressed at the thought they might loose her, but she fought it down. That was the kind of thing she would have thought as Cristobel, but now she knew she had more important things to worry about. She looked at their faces, the worried expressions almost frightened expectations.

“No.” She assured them.

There was a collective sigh of relief from the group.

Krystal added, “. . . it’s Miss Piranha.”

The stunned silence that greeted the revelation could have been cut by a knife. Krystal began her story telling them about finding Miss Piranha crying and what had transpired, leaving out things she considered too personal but giving them the gist of it, telling them how she’d spent the whole night cradling the despondent teacher in her arms. When she was finished, she felt warm liquid trailing down her cheeks and realized that she was crying again.

She wasn’t the only one, the Twins were tearing up and looking at each other, and Stitchy had buried her large head her massive hands and was sobbing despondently. Zippy put an arm around her and patted her back. Suddenly the warm climate of the steam filled sauna felt like it was ice cold.

The silence was broken only by Stitchy mumbling, “No, Stitchy love Miss Piranha.”

After another long period of nothing, Zippy took a deep breath and declared, “Well, alright then: A cancer cure it is.”

Everyone looked at Zippy, questioningly. There was no objection to what she said, but just an air of doubt. Krystal realized that they all, herself included, were suddenly looking to Zippy for some shred of hope. Zippy was putting on a brave, steely face; but in her eyes, Krystal saw a hint of the same fear and uncertainty that plagued her. But with all eyes on her, Zippy was playing the role of leader all of a sudden, and burying her emotions.

Lizzy spoke up, “Do you really think we can do it?”

Zippy pursed her lips, “We have to try, if nothing else. But Krystal’s right: I don’t want to sound stuck up, but just three of us re wrote mad science as we know it and the result has her butt planted right here with us. Imagine what all of us can do if you put our minds to it, I think we owe it to Miss Piranha to at least give it a try.”

A quick glance to Lizzy and Krystal made a silent statement that they both understood: They also had the knowledge in the hidden library.

One by one everyone agreed; they would work on a cancer cure, and try to save Miss Piranha. It was a daunting task, but Zippy felt not only committed, but energized as well. As impossible as it seemed, Zippy felt a real tangible hope that the Shark Tank Guild could pull this off. After all, if they did this, they’d be saving Miss Piranha . . . and millions of others as well. As lofty goals went, you could do much worse.

After a long time they finally got up and headed back to the locker room to get dressed. As they went, Zippy found herself glancing over at Krystal frequently. She’d come a long way since her days as the self centered and egomaniacal Cristobel. Zippy couldn’t help but be impressed by the amount of compassion that Krystal had developed.

The massive, monstrous black eye bigger then Zippy’s head; bulged wide in shock. Megan’s huge mouth dropped open, six inch teeth and all as she heard the news. She floated in front of the window, as devastated as anyone else about the news. Her shark’s face was not made for expressing emotion, but the feeling was flowing off her just the same. Zippy could almost feel the shock and grief through the glass. She was sure, had Megan had tear ducts, she would have been crying. The sixty foot megalodon, that prehistoric killing machine, was devastated at the news of a friend’s illness.

“Miss Piranha . . . dying . . . I . . . can’t believe it.” Megan stammered through her implant, “She . . . she always comes to visit me. She was gonna be there when I have my pups.”

“Hopefully she still will be,” Said Zippy, “We’re going to working on a cure for her, but I don’t really know where to start.”

Zippy stood in front of the huge window that looked out into the massive, seemingly endless tank that housed the two gigantic megalodons. Jetson sat on her shoulder, moving his tentacles slowly as she reached up and absent mindedly stroked his cone. This solitude was what Zippy had craved after Krystal had dropped the bomb about Miss Piranha. As always, being at Megan’s tank help focus her thoughts.

Megan shook her massive head in despair, “Oh, Zippy, you’ve got to save her. This is horrible, I can’t believe it.”

Not unreasonably, Zippy knew exactly how Meagan felt. She felt wounded and hollowed out inside her self. The night had started out with so much fun, but the news of Miss Piranha’s illness now made everything feel just a little bit off. She was torn up; her heart feeling like it had been shredded. But she knew everyone was looking to her to lead, for better or for worse, and she kept a brave face on. But it was a porcelain mask that felt like it might shatter at any moment.

Suddenly, Zippy jumped back a little as another massive shape appeared in the window. Morgan made a rare appearance, rising up from out of the gloom and settling in next to his mate so fast that he actually scared Zippy a little bit. He spoke, his own implant flashing, in a voice that always comically reminded Zippy of Tom Selleck.

“Did I hear you right?” He asked abhorred, “Miss Piranha’s dying?”

All Zippy could do was nod silently.

“No! No! Why? Why her?” Morgan groaned, thrashing his massive head back and forth.

The anguish in Morgan’s voice, perfectly translated by his implant, stabbed Zippy right through the heart. She bit her lips, feeling sobs rising up in her own chest. She fought it down, keeping her cool. They all looked to her, she told herself, and she had to be strong for all of them. Even the massive sharks, as strange as that might sound.

“It’s horrible!” Megan moaned, her implant picking up on her emotions and rendering a voice that sounded for all the world like it was crying, even though Megan was incapable of the action, “I hate it! I hate this cancer thing! I wish cancer was something alive! Something I could tear apart with my teeth and save her . . . I wish . . . I wish . . .”

She trailed off, despondently. Morgan leaned in close and to Zippy’s surprise, nuzzled his mate with his nose. It was a display of affection Zippy rarely saw between the two giant sharks. It was almost human in its tenderness. Again Zippy felt tears well up within her. She fought them down, but it was getting harder.

“We’re going to work on a cure. Me and the other Shark Tank Guild members.” Zippy told them, “We’re going to try to save her, get everyone in on working on this. We are going to try as hard as we can.”

“Oh, Zippy! Please save her! Please!” Meagan begged her with heart rending hopefulness.

“I’ll try. We’ll do our best.” She told her, “But I don’t know where to start, and I don’t know . . . how much time we have . . .”

That was the biggest problem: Miss Piranha could easily die before they found their cure.

That was it, she lost it. Zippy’s knees buckled beneath her and she fell against the glass of the tank. There no fighting the flood of emotions, Zippy broke down and let out an anguished cry, tears flooding down her cheeks, her body wracked with sobs of grief and despair. Her cries echoed in the empty hallway. Emotions swirled within her in a wild tempest: Fear, grief, and anger. So much anger. Miss Piranha had been the only one there for her when she’d first come to Madame Petri’s, she’d been the only one to support her. Now this cruel, amoral world was sentencing her to a slow, painful death. Zippy hated, hated the whole universe for what it had done to her teacher. She slammed her fist hard against the glass, feeling a jolt of pain surge up her arm. Her anger was in danger of overwhelming her, but her grief was doing that already.

She felt Jetson’s tentacles grip on her tighter, and she realized he was hugging her.

“Please don’t give up, Zippy.” Jetson said, quietly, “Please don’t give up.”

As her sobs eased up, she opened her eyes and looked up. She saw that Megan and Morgan had lowered their heads to where she was pressed against the window, and were moving their heads back and forth. They were trying to nuzzle her, Zippy realized, like they had with each other. They knew, of course, that they couldn’t nuzzle her through the glass. With another pang of her heart, Zippy realized that they simply didn’t know what else to for her.

Tears still streaming down her face, Zippy threw her arms wide against the glass, mimicking a hug, crying in great sobs as emotions spilled out of her in an uncontrollable deluge. Her dangerous anger subsided, replaced instead by pure undiluted anquish.

Together in the long empty hall of the tank room, human, squid and sharks expressed their sorrow to each other.

It was hours later that Zippy finally left Megan and Morgan’s tank. After her breakdown, she felt more focused; and much more determined. Unfortunately, it didn’t really make her feel all that better, and her thoughts as she walked down the hallways were haunted by the specter of loosing Miss Piranha. And the pressure was already starting to mount: As soon as Krystal had let them know of the situation, everyone had looked to her for leadership. It hadn’t occurred to Zippy before, but as the highest rated student in the school, she had stepped into the role of de facto leader of The Shark Tank Guild.

She felt a little guilty about that; the whole secret of her success hinged on her access to the hidden library and its contents. Sure, not everyone could have put the knowledge contained in those books to good use, but still it felt like cheating. Madame Petri’s didn’t really care about cheating that much, everything was about results, but still there was that twinge of guilt. But then again, she’d cheat a hundred times if it kept her out of Madame Petri’s experiment program, whatever the hell she was doing to the students in there. Zippy still found Petri’s absence from the school more then a little odd, if not downright suspicious.

She ran one hand over the other and winced. She had a nasty bruise on her hand where she slammed it into the tank’s glass. No smart, Zippy. Not good. You don’t want your anger getting the better of you.

Jetson spoke up on her shoulder, “Zippy, are you feeling better?”

“A little bit, yeah.” Zippy replied affectionately, “Why?”

“Because you’re going the wrong way.” Jetson informed her.

Zippy stopped and realized that she had passed up the right turn and was now walking out onto a catwalk running across and long circular shaft. This was the same catwalk she had chased Katjia and Nadjia across was they perused Jetson back on her first day at Petri’s. God, how long ago that felt; like it was a different life. Well, she knew how to get back from here.

She peeked down over the railing, and saw the large metal box that sat so far down below on the floor of the shaft, with the square holes covered with metal mesh. The box, whatever it was, still looked like a jail cell to Zippy. It almost creeped her out, thinking what they might be keeping in there. She narrowed her eyes looking at the box.

She had thought, for a second, that she had seen movement inside. She continued looking at it, but could see no further movement within. Damn, it looked so much like a prison, but who or what could they be keeping in there? She shuddered a little bit looking at it, and couldn’t shake the feeling that she was missing something about it, something she should be putting together, as if there was puzzle to be solved and she didn’t even know it. After a time, she continued on her way back to her dorm room.

Once she was back in the school proper and walking past the empty classroom, she stopped when something else caught her attention: The sounds of quiet sobbing coming from one of the other classrooms. She stopped, at first not sure which direction it was coming from. After a time, she pinpointed the location, a medium sized room off to her right. She hesitated and then started towards the room, still hearing the sobs.

It had to be Miss Piranha, Zippy thought, she must have broke down again. But what was she doing way down here? She came into the room, gently pushing open the door. The room was dark, and she stayed where she was letting her eyes adjust. She spied the outline of what looked like a crouched figure, shaking as it sobbed miserably. She took a tentative step forward. She slipped her hand into her pocket and gripped the noggin bobber just in case.

“Is someone there?” She asked, rather lamely.

“Go away!” The voice screeched, “Leave me alone!”

Zippy blinked in surprise: It wasn’t Miss Piranha, that was for sure, but she didn’t recognize the voice. It sounded familiar, however. Zippy took another step forward.

“Do you need some help?” She asked the shape, “Are you hurt?”

“Zipperdale?!?” The voice hissed, “Leave me alone, haven’t you done enough already?”

Now the voice rang a bell, although it was slightly different: It was Charity Milquetoast. Zippy remembered Krystal mentioning that Rick hadn’t been able to find her, and come to think of it, Zippy hadn’t seen her all day.

Charity sobbed pathetically, “Why did you do this to me? Why? What did I ever do to you to deserve this?”

Did she want that alphabetically, or in order of occurrence? Zippy sarcastically thought, but she held her tongue.

Instead she said, “Charity is this about the burns? They should have healed by now; you should let me take a look at them.”

“Who cares about burns?” Charity shouted angrily, “I . . . I can’t be seen like this.”

Zippy reached over to the light but Charity’s agonized shriek stopped her.

“No! Don’t look at me!” She wailed, “Please, I don’t want you or anyone else to see me like this! I’m so ugly. Ugly!”

She dissolved into uncontrollable wails of despair. Zippy’s finger hovered over the light switch, wondering if she should honor Charity’s request to leave the light out. Hell, Charity had done enough vicious underhanded things to Zippy, maybe she should just leave her to whatever fate she had encountered. Let her stay hidden in the dark, alone and miserable. Anger welled up in her, and Zippy quickly fought it down. For all her smarts, Zippy knew there was a mindless beast inside her sometimes, and letting her anger get the better of her led to . . . bad things.

She flipped on the light.

Charity shrank back, covering her face with her hands and crouching behind a large desk, letting out a frightened sob. Zippy’s mouth dropped open in complete shock as she saw her.

“You did this to me, didn’t you?” Charity shrieked in a bizarre mixture of rage and sorrow, tears in her . . . were those eyes?

“How the hell would I do this to you?” Zippy breathed, astonished by what she was looking at.

Charity’s skin was a dull gray color all over. Her hair, once brunette, was now a grayish brown shade but retained her wavy curls. Her eyes were three times as big as they had been before, and zippy could detect no iris or pupils in the shining silver orbs which seemed to glow faintly in the light. Her ears had elongated and now rose into points through her hair and above her head. In her mouth, she could see that Charity’s canine teeth had elongated until the resembled Eve’s fangs. She seemed to be permanently hunched over on all fours. There were only three fingers and a thumb on each hand, and all her digits were twice as thick as normal. Her legs now sported and double jointed look similar to a dog’s hind legs, and ended in what could only be described as large animal paws similar to a bear’s feet. To cap it all off, a long fleshy tail, similar to a possum’s but flexible like a cat’s trailed out from under her skirt, swishing back and forth.

Charity Milquetoast was no longer entirely human.

Jeepers! This is Vixen talking. And I’m telling you a little bit about next chapter. Jeepers, Zippy and her friends get to work on saving Miss Piranha’s life while figuring out what happened to Charity. And Krystal gets the visit she’s been dreading in the next chapter of Zippy Zipperdale: Moderately Mad Scientist, “The Tenth Experiment”.

Jeepers! I’ve got it!
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